COVERAGE TEAMS

BEAT ASSIGNMENTS

For teams covering UGA sports, every team member needs to be the lead reporter on one beat and the backup reporter on another beat.

You will be expected to keep up with all news, developments and schedules on both beats. You need to meet with the primary contacts on both beats and make sure you have their contact information.

For the team covering high school sports, you each will be the lead reporter on one of five high schools: Athens Academy, Athens Christian, Cedar Shoals, Clarke Central and Prince Avenue Christian. You primarily will cover football, but you also can write stories about other fall sports.

TEAM COMPETITION

Each member of the team with the most points at semester’s end will receive five extra-credit points toward his or her overall grade. The runners-up each will receive three extra-credit points. Members of the third-place team each will receive one point.

Some of the points will be earned through in- and out-of-class quizzes, exercises and assignments. Some of these will be announced ahead of time. Others won’t.

Most of the points will be earned through the team blog.

TEAM BLOGS

Beginning the week of Sept. 8, each team should post a 300- to 500-word blog item, with an optional multimedia element, by noon Friday.

Two of the weeks, the team will post a link to a podcast instead of a blog item (see instructions below).

All teams will post 10 blog items total, plus the two podcasts.

You must post weekly. The first item is due by noon Friday, Sept. 11. The last item is due by noon Friday, Nov. 20.

For the five-person teams, each team member should write two blog items, edit two blog items and co-produce one podcast.

For the four-person teams, each team member should write two blog items, edit two blog items, write or edit an additional blog item, and co-produce one podcast.

Every blog item must be posted with the names of the reporter and editor. The reporter’s name should be in the byline, the editor’s name in a tagline (at the bottom of the item).

You will decide as a team what the writing/editing rotation will be. I will not resolve any disputes over work that is done or not done, nor will I help you negotiate any changes to the rotation. All of that is to be handled within the team. My only involvement is to provide feedback and to award points based upon what is posted in the team blog.

Each item is worth up to five points toward the team total. I will award points based on the quality of the item. If the item is not written to assigned length, I will deduct 10 percent from the point total for that item. If the item contains a factual error, or if it contains more than three grammar and/or AP style errors, the team will receive zero points. If the item is posted after noon Friday, I will not grade it, and the team will receive zero points. 

The blog items should be based on current news, a trend or some other buzz on your beat. In the item, you will provide perspective, analysis or a take that enhances the readers’ understanding of the news, the trend, etc. Your blog items should not be opinion pieces. They should reflect and contain good reporting. They should not be a simple recap or preview of an event or competition on your beat.

Use hyperlinks to direct readers to any content that informed your blog – a news story, perhaps, or a column. Think of hyperlinks as you would attributions: If you’re drawing upon or referring to someone else’s content, attribute it to them via a hyperlink. If you do not use hyperlinks when using content you did not originally report and instead found on the Internet, you are committing plagiarism and will be treated and graded accordingly.

Hyperlinks also can be used to give your readers more background about a person or topic referenced in your blog item.

For more about how to write blogs, read this article posted by the Online News Association.

The ESPN Blogs page has numerous examples of good blogs.

TEAM PODCASTS

Each coverage team will produce two podcasts of at least 10 but not more than 20 minutes. You will post them to your coverage team’s blog page. Like the blog items, the podcasts should be posted by noon Friday. Teams can produce podcasts starting the week of Sept. 28, but not before.

The coverage team should meet to decide which weeks to produce podcasts. Immediately before significant games, tournaments or championships are ideal times.

Two team members will produce one podcast, and the other two members will produce the other. (Three team members will produce one of the podcasts for the five-member teams.)

You should cover multiple topics in the podcast. You can host guests from your beats. Each of the two (or three) team members must be heard on the podcast, in approximate equal amounts.

You will upload the podcast to SoundCloud, then post a link to it on your team’s blog page. You also should promote it on social media.

You can find examples of good podcasts at Slate.com (click on Sports under Topics on the righthand side of the page) and at Grantland.

TEAM MULTIMEDIA ELEMENTS

Teams can include an optional multimedia element — related to the blog or podcast topic — for the chance to earn additional points.

The multimedia element should be one of three things: a one- to two-minute video; a photo slideshow containing 6-10 photos; or an infographic.

Multimedia elements each are worth up to five additional points. The rules regarding errors in blog items also apply to multimedia elements.

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